National Wildlife Refuge
|About 1,000 miles south-southwest of
Phone Number: 808-792-9560
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Continued . . . The lush vegetation feeds and shelters thick flocks of over a million birds. Twenty-nine species have been identified. Residents include the world's second largest colony of red-footed boobies; brown boobies and masked boobies; and white terns and sooty terns. Palmyra also provides a rest stop for the bristle-thighed curlew, a species of concern. Some 4,000 miles from Alaska, Palmyra is the first place the bird rests on its journey to French Polynesia. Only 6,000 of these rare birds are thought to exist, and several hundred of them spend the winter on Palmyra.
The refuge is also home to the world's largest land invertebrate, the rare coconut crab. Human consumption has nearly wiped out the crabs from the rest of the Pacific. On Palmyra, where they are unmolested, they can live up to 50 years and grow 2½ feet across.
Threatened green turtles nest on Palmyra's beaches. The crystal-clear waters teem with hundreds of fish species, including mantra rays, mullets, fusiliers, snappers, humphead parrotfish, humphead wrasses, sharks, other rays, jacks, goat-fish, tuna, butterflyfish, damselfish, and sturgeonfish. World-class sportfishing populations of bonefish occupy the shallow lagoon flats. Hawksbill turtles, rare giant clams, black-lipped pearl shells, pen shells, and pilot whales also frequent the area. Pods of dolphins swim outside the reefs, and visits by endangered Hawaiian monk seals are reported.
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